I am one week post op. My colon is gone. I have an ostomy bag. I have stitches, and bruises. I have a walker. I am limping less. I will have scars. I do not have ulcerative colitis. I have phantom feelings like I have to go to the bathroom like the average person does, but I don't, because I don't go to the bathroom that way anymore. I have bottles of drugs in my bathroom that don't really belong there. I am learning to manage my pain. My sense of smell and taste have changed, though I am told that this is temporary.
I have been struggling to write this blog post because my feelings are changing so rapidly. One minute I am strong and feeling like "you've got this Deb!", and the next I am sitting on the couch crying. I struggle to put my feelings into words because I am sure that within the next hour they may change. I am told that all of these things are normal, and I need to be patient with myself. Patience. I have no trouble being patient with 24 first graders, but when you ask me to be patient with myself, well that is another story.
I am worried about unfamiliar things - things that I never had to worry about before.
I am a little afraid to leave the house, though I know that tomorrow I will force myself to do it. At least for a little while. Maybe 30 minutes. And then maybe the next day an hour. And then maybe I will have some of my friends over to visit. And all of this will help me begin to feel like me.
I wonder what is in the space that my colon used to be. Does the small intestine now get to stretch out a little? Is it just an empty void? Will I feel hollow?
I think that before the surgery I had this feeling that I would no longer be me after the surgery. That somehow I would change. And that upset me, because at 48 years old, I have finally gotten to the point where I really like me. I am comfortable with who I am. And I am slowly coming to realize that though my body has changed, the essence of who I am is really no different. It hit me a few days after the surgery in the hospital when Adam was visiting. I had to practice my breathing using the spectrometer. Inhaling and making the ball move up and down. And like two pre-teens we were laughing about balls and blowing - the same things we would have laughed at before my surgery. It felt comfortable and normal.
Last night I slept. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and I realized I had slept on my side. Not my stomach like I used to, and not my back like I thought I would have to, but on my side. So for right now, that is good enough.